May 3, 2012
Former MMA fighter Rami Boukai
It’s not just poker players that have been crossing over into the MMA world. World-class fighters have been trying their hand at poker for years.
Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson are amongst the numerous MMA stars that have played in the World Series of Poker.
Matt Hughes and Mike Swick were also Friends of Full Tilt Poker during online poker’s peak in 2006-07.
MMA and poker appeal to similar demographics and Full Tilt and UB Poker even sponsored several official UFC fights in 2009-10.
Perhaps the best example, however, has been the lesser-known Rami “arbianight” Boukai.
Boukai had an MMA record of 2-2 and once fought UFC star Urijah Faber before he switched to poker full time.
He may have missed his shot at a title in MMA but he’s certainly succeeded in poker. In 2009 Boukai outlasted a field of 453 players to win a WSOP bracelet in Pot-Limit Omaha/Hold’em.
Boukai didn’t really make many connections between MMA and poker but he did say he gets nervous when goes deep in poker tournaments, which was similar to how he felt when he had a big fight.
He beat Najib Bennani heads-up to secure his first WSOP bracelet and the $244,862 first place prize. Boukai was modest about the win.
“I just wanted to win,” Boukai told Bluff Magazine after winning his first bracelet. “I won most of the hands heads-up but I was running really well, I was hitting some rivers. He was actually dodging, folding on the river a lot when I had him.”
Boukai has not been a one-hit wonder in the poker world either. Lately he’s been an absolute wrecking ball in the high-stakes online games and is up more than $250,000 so far in 2012.
Eventually Boukai had to choose between MMA and poker and decided to go with playing cards.
It’s hard to picture Boukai regretting his decision, considering he’s won more than $1 million since he started playing poker.
Article Source: Pokerlistings.com